What is a Learning Record Store (LRS)?
A Learning Record Store (LRS) = a place to store learning records.
The LRS is a new system that goes hand in hand with the Tin Can API. As Tin Can-enabled activities generate statements, they’re sent to an LRS. The LRS is simply a repository for learning records that can be accessed by an LMS or a reporting tool. An LRS can live inside an LMS, or it can stand on its own.
The data stored in an LRS can be accessed by LMSs, reporting tools, or other LRSs, and can be stored as individual learning records and/or entire transcripts. An LRS can limit who can read and write learning records, but doesn’t have to.
SCORM and other e-learning standards only store a certain amount of learning data. Tin Can allows for the LRS to store nearly everything, which means better reporting and a much more accurate picture of learners.
An LRS can live inside an LMS and use the LMS’s reporting tools to make meaning of the LRS’s data, or it can live on its own with its own reporting tools.
LRSs can share data amongst themselves, so learners and data can be transferred from one organization to another. Statements can also be sent to multiple LRSs (think “I want to record my training in my own personal LRS as well as my employer’s LRS.”)
What is the Tin Can API?
The Tin Can API (sometimes known as the Experience API or xAPI) is a brand new specification for learning technology that makes it possible to collect data about the wide range of experiences a person has (online and offline). This API captures data in a consistent format about a person or group’s activities from many technologies. Very different systems are able to securely communicate by capturing and sharing this stream of activities using Tin Can’s simple vocabulary.
Previous specifications were difficult and had limitations (see Tin Can vs SCORM), but the Tin Can API is simple and flexible. It lifts many of the older restrictions. Mobile learning, simulations, virtual worlds, serious games, real-world activities, experiential learning, social learning, offline learning, and collaborative learning are just some of the things that can now be recognized and communicated well with the Tin Can API.
It’s important to know that we don’t own the Tin Can API. ADL is the steward of the specification. We just know this space so well that ADL asked us to help develop it. The Tin Can API is community-driven, and free to implement.
How does the Tin Can API work?
- People learn from interactions with other people, content, and beyond. These actions can happen anywhere and signal an event where learning could occur. All of these can be recorded with the Tin Can API.
- When an activity needs to be recorded, the application sends secure statements in the form of “Noun, verb, object” or “I did this” to a Learning Record Store (LRS.)
- Learning Record Stores record all of the statements made. An LRS can share these statements with other LRSs. An LRS can exist on its own, or inside an LMS.
The Experience API (xAPI) and Learning Record Stores (LRS) serve the primary purpose of documenting and retrieving learning experiences from arbritary learning environments. Each "experience" in a LRS refers to one event in the learning process. Therefore, it provides an overview about what people have developed their knowledge, skills and competences. These events can be as simple as "accessed a resource", "watched a movie", "played a game", "passed a test" or "visited a location". They can also cover more complex events such as "completed a course by passing all necessary tests with 60%" or "Visited all waypoints of a treasure hunt", and even complex meta processes "passed all courses for a master degree and applied the concepts in professional practice" might be included as experiences.
Learning badges share many characteristics of "certificates" for one or more learning experiences. In other words, a learning badge is a certificate that person has mastered a learning objective. Mozilla's Open Badges provide a framework for certifing that learners have completed a task or reached a goal in a learning environment, without much opportunities for autmated validation or integration into complex technology supported learning processes as the concept is based on the trust principle of certifying authorities.
Finally, there are e-portfolios (like Mahara). E-portfolios provide a place for storing, arranging and presenting learning outcomes. These learning outcomes can be learning badges and other certificates. They can also include all kinds of other material, such as essays that have been written in courses or software that has been developed as part of a job. In this context, systems like Mahara would store the learning badges for learners but does not necessarily require a direct link to a LRS.